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Fitness and Facts

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Stretches

 

NECK LATERAL FLEXION

AREAS INVOLVED: Neck, Trapezius
Sit or stand upright.
Place left hand on right side of head. Move head towards left shoulder, using hand to provide a gentle pull. Hold for ten seconds, then slightly increase the pull until slightly more tension is felt.
Repeat the sequence using the opposite side.
To increase the effectiveness of the stretch, stabilize the upper body by holding onto the under side of a chair or bench with the inactive arm.

NECK FORWARD FLEXION

AREAS INVOLVED: Posterior neck
Sit or stand upright.
Keeping your shoulders in a neutral position, let your head hang forward. For a greater pull, interlock your hands on the back of your head near the crown.
Gently pull down on your head, keeping your chin tucked towards your chest.
Hold for ten seconds, then gently increase the pull until slightly more tension is felt. Hold for ten seconds.

FRONT SHOULDER STRETCH

AREAS INVOLVED: Chest, Shoulder, Biceps
Stand with your right arm straight and comfortably extended behind you and with your palm on the wall.
Slowly turn your body away from the wall until you feel mild tension.
Hold for ten seconds, then turn slightly farther until you feel slightly more tension.
Return to the starting position and repeat the sequence with the left arm.

POSTERIOR SHOULDER STRETCH

AREAS INVOLVED: Posterior deltoids, Latissimus dorsi, Rotator cuff Stand or sit with the right arm slightly flexed and pulled across the chest.
Grasp the upper arm just above the elbow, place the left hand below the triceps.
Pull the right arm across the chest (towards the left) with your left hand.
Hold for ten seconds, then gently increase the pull, until slightly more tension is felt. Hold for ten seconds. Repeat the sequence on the opposite side.

TOWEL STRETCH

AREAS INVOLVED: Shoulder girdle, Triceps, Latissimus dorsi.
While standing, drop a towel behind back.
Reach behind back with your other arm to grab low on the towel. Pull down on towel until a mild tension is felt in the upper arm and shoulder. Hold for ten seconds.
Gently increase the pull on the towel until slightly more tension is felt. Hold for ten seconds.
Repeat on the other side.

LAT-TRICEPS STRETCH

AREAS INVOLVED: Latissimus dorsi, Triceps.
Stand upright and extend left arm over head.
Grab right elbow with left hand and relax the right arm and let it hang down towards the left scapula.
Gently pull right elbow backward until mild tension is felt. Hold for ten seconds, then pull back slightly further for ten seconds.
To emphasize the latissimus dorsi and external obliques, hold the stretch position and gently lean down towards the side.
Return to starting position and repeat sequence on the opposite side.

CALF STRETCH

AREAS INVOLVED: Gastrocnemius, Soleus
Stand near an immovable object.
Bend one leg forward and lean against object.
Keeping the back leg straight and the heel on the floor, gently lean forward until mild tension in the calf is felt.
Hold for 15 seconds, then flex knee gently so that a mild tension is felt above the heel.
Hold for 15 seconds and return to the starting position. Repeat sequence with the opposite leg.

UPPER BACK SIDE STRETCH

AREAS INVOLVED: Upper back, Posterior deltoids.
Sit with legs extended in front.
Twist your upper back, crossing your right arm across your chest and putting your right hand on the floor. Your left arm is behind your torso with your left hand on the floor.
Gently twist until your feel mild tension. Hold for ten seconds, then gently twist further until slightly more tension is felt. Hold for ten seconds.
Return to starting position, and repeat the sequence on the opposite side.

MODIFIED HURDLERíS STRETCH

AREAS INVOLVED: Lower back, Hamstrings.
Sit with legs extended. Bend one knee up and out so that your foot is touching your knee.
Gently lean your trunk forward and reach down with both arms until a comfortable level of tension is felt. (Flattening the back will emphasize the hamstrings, rounding the back will emphasize the back.) Hold for ten seconds.
Gently reach farther forward until slightly more tension is felt.
Hold for ten seconds.

BUTTERFLY STRETCH

AREAS INVOLVED: Groin, Lower back.
Sit upright with the bottom of the feet touching each other.
Push down on thighs or pull feet towards body to increase the level of stretch.
Bend forward at the waist, keeping the back flat, to a position where you feel mild tension.
Hold for ten seconds, then bend slightly farther to feel slightly more tension. Hold for ten seconds. Return to starting position.

STRADDLE STRETCH

AREAS INVOLVED: Groin, Hamstrings, Lower back.
STANDARD POSITION: Sit upright with legs straight.
Spread legs to a comfortable angle.
Keeping legs straight, but not locking knees, bend forward at the waist.
Hold for ten seconds, then push down slightly farther until slightly more tension is felt.
Hold for ten seconds. Return to starting position. Repeat sequence, bending torso towards the left knee. Return to starting position, and repeat sequence towards the right knee.

CROSS OVER STRETCH

AREAS INVOLVED: Glutes, Illiotibial band.
Sit with legs straight in front of you.
Bend left leg and put your left foot on the floor on the outside of the right knee. Grab your left knee and slowly pull towards your chest until you feel mild tension.
Hold for ten seconds, then pull slightly harder until slightly more tension is felt. Hold for ten seconds. Relax. Repeat sequence on the other leg.

KNEE TO CHEST STRETCH

AREAS INVOLVED: Glutes, Lower back, Hamstrings
Lay flat on your back with knees bent.
Grab under left thigh and pull knee towards chest until you feel mild tension. Hold for ten seconds, then pull slightly farther until you feel slightly more tension. Hold for ten seconds.
Relax. Repeat sequence with other leg.
To emphasize the glutes and iliotibial band, pull knee towards the opposite shoulder. To emphasize inner hamstrings and groin, pull knee towards the outside of the same shoulder.

SUPINE TUCK

AREAS INVOLVED: Lower back, Glutes.
Lay on back with legs bent and both hands on knees. Gently pull both knees towards your chest. Keep abdominals tight and try to flatten the small of your back. Hold for ten seconds. Pull slightly harder for ten seconds and hold. Relax.

FRONT TORSO STRETCH

AREAS INVOLVED: Abdominals, Groin.
Lie on your stomach with your hands in the bottom push-up position.
Slowly lift the upper body, keeping the hips and lower body on the floor and looking straight ahead (Figure 2). Contract the gluteals to reduce the stress on the lower back.
Hold for ten seconds, then gently lift upper body higher and contract gluteals harder until a slightly greater stretch is felt. Hold for ten seconds.
To decrease the difficulty of this stretch, it can be performed while keeping the elbows on the ground. To emphasize the inner groin area, spread legs shoulder width apart, point toes outward, turn head towards right shoulder, and lean torso towards the left side. Repeat sequence on opposite side. This stretch should not be performed if pain is felt in the lower back.

PRONE EXTENSION

AREAS INVOLVED: Shoulder girdle, Back, Glutes, Hamstrings.
Lie facedown with arms extended over your head on the floor.
Exhale as you slowly lift left arm and right leg 6 to 12 inches off the floor. Hold for ten seconds.
Gently increase the stretch until more tension is felt, hold for ten seconds.
Look ahead and down at floor, so that head and neck remain neutral. Breathe normally.
Lower arm and leg and repeat with opposite limbs.

FOREARM STRETCH

AREAS INVOLVED: Forearm extensors and flexors.
Stand upright with your left arm extended.
With your left arm facing down (pronated), grasp your left fingers with your right hand.
Gently pull your hand down until mild tension is felt on the top of the forearm. Hold for ten seconds, then pull slightly harder until more tension is felt. Hold for ten more seconds, then relax.
Repeat the sequence with your palm facing up. The stretch should be felt on the inside of your forearm. Repeat sequence with your right arm.

 

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